Weekly Email 4-26-24

Dear Common Ground Friends,

Is it possible for us to be fully engaged in our ordinary world of routines, responsibilities, and relationships and at the same time be free from attachment and identification? This seems like an impossible task. The practice taught by the Buddha is to develop a continuity of mindful awareness that is able to remain clear and stable even as it observes skillful and unskillful ways of relating, triggered by the changing conditions of our lives. The Buddha recommends that we practice with all four postures: sitting, walking, standing and lying down, in other words all the time. That means that even when our mind is entangled with unwholesome thoughts, speech, and actions we aspire to sustain a continuity of wise awareness. We aspire to keep in mind the simple truth, “This experience of mind or body is being known and felt, it is like this now, can this be okay?”

Surprisingly, non-attachment does not necessitate withdrawing from the world of responsibilities, or even pleasant sense experiences. Non-attachment is realized whenever the heart is both intimate and free of grasping. At times good circumstances might come our way. At other times difficult experiences may come our way. Can our heart remain unmoved by the uncertain movement of conditions? The Buddha describes liberation as the capacity to experience freedom within the eight worldly winds of pleasure and pain, gain and loss, praise and blame, fame and disrepute.

Mark Nunberg
Co-Guiding Teacher

“Whatever you get is a cause for suffering, so we practice not getting anything. Just this is called ‘making the mind empty’. It’s empty but there is still doing. This emptiness is something people don’t usually understand; only those who reach it see the real value of it. It’s not the emptiness of not having anything, it’s emptiness within the things that are here. Like this flashlight: we should see this flashlight as empty; because of the flashlight there is emptiness. It’s not the emptiness where we can’t see anything, it’s not like that. People who understand like that have got it all wrong. You must understand emptiness within the things that are here.”
Excerpt From The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah

Guest Teacher nakawe cuebas!

For over 20 years, nakawe cuebas has immersed herself in the teachings of the early Buddhist schools, mainly Theravada and Thai Forest. She is a graduate of the 2017-2021 IMS Teacher Training program, and she shares the Dharma by assisting and teaching on retreats. Other healing systems that she has studied are: Midwifery, Chinese acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, and yoga. Spiritually the practices are Lucumi (Cuba), with roots from the African Yoruba culture and indigenous ceremonies. Her ancestral home is Puerto Rico, blending the Spanish, African, and Taino Indian roots that flow from her ancestors, and give her guidance and strength daily.

Guest Teacher Talk: How to cultivate “Embodied Equanimity” as a dear friend in our troubled times 
Friday, May 10, 7:00-8:30 p.m. At city center and on Zoom. More info here.

Daylong Retreat with nakawe & Shelly
Saturday, May 11, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. At city center and on Zoom. More info and registration here.

Weekly Practice Group: learning to trust the journey, the art of letting go….
Sunday, May 12, 7:00-8:30 p.m., at city center

Programs with our Co-Guiding Teachers


With Mark Nunberg

Weekly Practice Groups

  • Sundays mornings, 10:30-11:45 a.m., in-person, on Zoom, and on YouTube
  • NEW Tuesday evening group, 7:00-8:30 p.m., on Zoom only

Lovingkindness Practice Group
Friday, May 3, 7:00-8:30 p.m. In-person and on Zoom

Half-Day and Daylong Retreats
In person and on Zoom
  • Daylong on Saturday, May 25. More info and registration here.
  • Half-Day on Saturday, June 8, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. More info and registration here.
Community Practice Intensive with Mark Nunberg & Sarah Wilson
3 Mondays, June 3-17, 7:00-8:30 p.m. and Daylong Retreat, Saturday, June 22, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. More info and registration here. In-person and on Zoom.

Community Practice Check-in 
Every Sunday, 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Zoom, with Wynn Fricke

Open Meditation
Mondays, 6:30-7:15 a.m. on Zoom

With Shelly Graf

Weekly Practice Groups

  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00 p.m., in-person and on Zoom
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30 p.m., in-person only
    • May 12th with nakawe cuebas
Community Practice Check-ins
Wednesdays, 8:30-9:30 a.m. in-person
Fridays, 9:00-10:00 a.m. on Zoom

Upcoming at our City Center

Half-Day Retreat for the BIPOC Community with Meski Mebatsion & Jen Racho
Saturday, May 18, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. More info and registration here.

Spring Cleaning & Maintenance Day – All Volunteers Welcome!
Saturday, June 15, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. More info and registration here.

Guest Teacher Talk with Kamala Masters
Saturday, June 15, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Programs at Our Retreat Center

Common Ground Retreat Center is located in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis. For background on our retreat center, click here.

Work Practice Period with Stephen Gregg, Tony Fernandez, and Julie Meyer
Thursday, May 16 – Sunday, May 19. The group will spend about 3 hours working in the morning and the rest of the day practicing. The work will mostly revolve around planting and plant maintenance. More info and registration here.

Memorial Day Retreat with Shelly Graf & Wynn Fricke
Thursday, May 23 – Monday, May 27. More info and registration here. There is a small in-person waitlist, and there is Zoom space available.

Teacher-Led Practice Period for Experienced Practitioners with Wynn Fricke
June 6th – June 19th. A prerequisite of 30 days of Insight residential retreat time is required. Participants may attend for 2-10 nights depending on experience. More info and registration here.

Residential Retreat with Ayya Niyyanika & Wynn Fricke
Thursday, June 20 – Sunday, June 23. More info and registration here. In-person and Zoom spots available.

Contemplative Arts Practice Period with Wynn Fricke and Richard Bonk
Tuesday, June 25 – Friday, June 28. More info and registration here.

Residential Retreat for the BIPOC Community with Tuere Sala
Sunday, July 7 – Friday, July 12. More info and registration here.

Save the Dates:

  • Divine Abodes Retreat with Patrice Koelsch Aug 15-18
  • Labor Day Retreat with Mark Nunberg & Shelly Graf Aug 24-Sept 2
  • Residential Retreat with Deborah Helzer Nov 12-16

Our online calendar remains the definitive place to check for program information.

Community News

Still Room in TCVC Retreat with Kamala Masters & Tara Mulay
There are still 10 spots in the TCVC retreat with Kamala Masters & Tara Mulay June 9-14. More info here.

Freely Giving and Receiving

Common Ground offers all programs freely in the spirit of generosity. If you’d like to donate to support the teachers and the center, click the link below.


Volunteer Opportunities

  • Seeking a cook for the Work Practice Period: If you would like to prepare a meal ahead of time for the volunteers going out to do some work at our retreat center May 16-19, let Gabe know, thank you!
  • Seeking tech volunteers for our new hybrid system! Gabe is looking for in-person volunteers comfortable with Zoom meetings, HDMI cords, etc. who’d be willing to serve as tech volunteers for the Sunday morning Weekly Practice Group with Mark, the Wednesday evening Weekly Practice Group with Shelly, and other programs as needed. Your role would be to run the hybrid aspect of the class. The setup is pretty straightforward, if detailed. See the steps involved here. Let Gabe know if you’d be willing to help play this important role and he can train you in. Thank you! Contact gabe@commongroundmeditation.org with questions or to offer your support.
  • Flower Waterers: We are looking for a couple of people who could check the flower offerings when they are at Common Ground for regular programming.  The job would consist of freshening the water (most important) and pulling any flowers that look sad if you are inclined to do so.  But a little regular watering makes the flowers last much longer.  Any day works from Sunday to Friday.  If you are interested Gabe will connect you to Karen Heegaard.


Nobody Outside of the Mind, Triggers the Mind

Nobody outside of the
mind can upset it, make it
angry, happy, averse, afraid,
joyful or grateful. Nobody out-
side of the mind, triggers the
mind. The mind is responsible
for its own feelings—its glad-
ness, and its suffering.   

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

spring still springing at Common Ground in Minneapolis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.